Patch News – February 2021

Here we are at the start of March having had zero flying in February. Fortunately things seem to be improving now with the vaccine rollout going well and Covid-19 cases dropping steadily so let’s hope flying is allowed soon. At the time of writing it looks as if from 8th March two members will be allowed to fly and then from 29th March it will be up to six members, but that’s not definite. Members must email Captain Slow to book a slot before flying. Captain Slow, assisted by Woody, has changed the fence battery regularly and reports that the patch will need cutting when we start flying again. Just as they finished the battery swap on 26th Feb the bullocks were moved into the field.

Some of you may have seen the feature on Don Eades, our late President, on BBC South Today on 17th February. There was no mention of his love of aeromodelling, it was about his life working as a photographer in the Petersfield area and him leaving a legacy of 120,000 photos to the Petersfield Museum. Don’s daughter Sandra was interviewed and spoke of some of his exploits while trying to get the best photographs. A good and fitting feature I thought. On Thursday 25th February at 2.30pm some club members attended Don’s funeral at Buriton church. Through his work Don met a great many people and in normal circumstances I’m sure his funeral would have been packed but due to the limit of thirty attendees the funeral had to be by invitation only. Funerals can never be happy occasions but I felt Don’s was about as good as it could be. The club was mentioned several times in the various tributes and its importance in Don’s life was stressed. During the Time for Reflection a slideshow of Don’s life was shown which included many photos of club activities, models, and club members. The final photo of the slideshow was Don waving goodbye. A very touching and poignant moment for everyone present.

At least this latest lockdown has been over the winter period when the weather is frequently unsuitable for flying but Sunday 21st February was a perfect flying day with light winds and even a little sunshine. Catapult King wrote to say it would have been the ideal day for test flying his little P51 Mustang but of course that couldn’t happen.He also reports that his F-14 Tomcat ‘keeps dishing out problems’ as he’s trying to get it ready for it first flight.The latest problem is that his radio has all but died and will need repairing. (I can recommend Mike Ridley of Model Radio Workshop in Southampton, he’s very good). Apparently Catapult has been spaced out during lockdown! No he’s not got a drug habit, he had received and model of the International Space Station for his birthday.He’s now got it finished and I must say it looks good Catapult but I’m not sure it will fly.

I was rather surprised when Jeremy Stuttard (Jezza? No I bet he’d hate that!) emailed on 3rd February saying that he’d been flying that day. Does he live on a farm or have a large enough back garden to fly in, or was he blatantly breaking the rules? None of those actually, it turned out he meant he’d been ‘flying’ on Google and discovered that the aerial mapping of the patch has been updated. Jeremy said that not only were several fliers clearly visible but also it was possible to see a model in the air and the shadow it was casting. So I opened up Google to check it out and when I first looked at the field in 2D I wasn’t convinced he was correct about the dot being a model at all, let along actually in the air, but then I went to 3D mode, zoomed right in, and rotated the view. He’s correct, it’s definitely a model and the shadow shows the shape more clearly than the model itself. I don’t know when the photos were taken, I thought Google used to give a time and date but I can’t see it now. I think it must have been pre-Covid as there doesn’t seem to be any social distancing in the pits. Click on the pics to enlarge them.Further over most of the cars are hidden by the trees but three are visible next to the barn which I belong to me, Captain Slow, and Dougal Entendre. Good spot Jeremy, if we can’t fly we can at least look longingly at the field!

Last month I showed you some photos of an Eek mini pylon racer that Matt Takhar has been building for Nick Weatherley. Matt has now finished and covered the Eek and it’s looking extremely smart. Matt’s been experimenting with vinyl cutting recently but I don’t think he did the ones for the Eek, I assume they were bought online. It seems likely that Nick will ask Matt to do the test flight, I hope his eyesight and reactions are up to it, at just 575mm span it’s going to be a hairy little thing but should be great fun if it survives.

Matt has also been refurbishing a Madness 3D machine. He owned one around 10 years ago and had a hankering for another (nostalgia becomes more common as you get older Matt!). He bought a slightly tatty I/C one on the BMFA sale site and has converted it to electric power and done some general tidying up especially of the covering. He used his vinyl cutter to produce some of the graphics which look to have turned out well. I’m sure Matt needs more practice at cutting vinyl so if you need any graphics for your latest pride and joy you know who to go to! The power is now supplied by a Turnigy 670Kv motor, much nicer than the previous dirty smelly noisy I/C engine!

Shock news, Bob the Builder has sold his Multiplex radio gear, the traitor! He’s got a Radio Master Tx16s on order which should arrive sometime in March. It’s the same transmitter as Dougal’s latest that I featured in December.Bob explains that the reason for the change was that he wanted to experiment with flight controllers, specifically a ZOHD one, and for that he needs a multi-protocol radio that can handle PWM and SBus. It means he’ll be able to use the Hitec receivers that he was using before buying the Multiplex gear. Bob has spent this lockdown learning as much as he can about Open Tx programming, mostly by watching the many YouTube videos that are available online. It will be interesting to see how Bob gets on with it. He should be alright for loads of help and advice from Dougal as Dougal has just retired after a lifetime of work developing software. Incidentally Bob still has two of the little Multiplex 5 channel Light receivers that several of us use, contact him directly if you could use a couple more receivers. Bob has also done a bit of building and says: In a particularly bored moment looking at my Lockdown2 model I wondered if I could use the wing in a DLG glider so I have built a prototype fuselage, see attached. Had to learn how to spring load the rudder and elevator to save weight, which will be about 350grms, nowhere near an Alula at 200grms though. Hmm, interesting, I hope the wing is strong enough for discus launching.

I heard from Gorgeous Gary the other day saying he has now got his Multiplex Funjet Ultra finished and ready for the test flight, he reckons it could be his fastest ever crash! Multiplex say it will do 125mph so it might be the fastest crash any of us! Gary has fitted a Himax c3514-2900 motor, a 60A esc, and will be using a 3 cell 2200mAh lipo. A couple of months ago I showed you a photo of Gary’s wrist that had been operated on, putting him out of action for a while. With the various restrictions and lockdowns he really hasn’t missed much flying but he says it’s on the mend now so he should be alright to fly once we are allowed. So what did the surgeons do to him? This:Ouch! That just had to be very painful, still it could have been worse, it could have been one of us instead of Gary!

John Warren has now finished his Albatross No.2 and has sent through some photos of some of the finer details. He says that on the old model the bottom wing was held in place by a ball and socket on the bottom of the strut. It was the failure of this joint that caused the wing to come off. He has changed the ball and socket to a hook and eye, and added a link joining both bottom wings. Let’s hope that does the job, I was unimpressed when the last one failed while I was flying it! The elevator and rudder controls are both closed loop using Gold-N-Rod snakes. The undercarriage is bungee sprung in guides, and the wheels are toed in about 5mm to hopefully improve the ground handling. John has made a dummy inline 6 cylinder Mercedes engine from balsa wood, and also a pair of twin 7.9mm Spandau machine guns. John reckons the AUW is around 6lbs which he says rather worries him. I don’t know what John’s first Albatross weighed but 6lbs doesn’t sound too bad to me for a model of that size.

Dwayne Pipe has kept busy during lockdown by building a bungee launch system for a couple of his EDF models. He says: EDF jets, either bought or made, usually have no undercarriage for the reason that their scale wheels are too small and almost useless for grass runways. This means that they have to be hand launched, which depending on who is doing the launching is a hit and miss affair. I have a pair of home built EDFs, the TSR2 and the Folland Gnat, where only one person in the club consistently launches them successfully. When Colin isn’t there I am stuck. As a result the TSR2 hasn’t been flown for a long time. My lockdown 3 project was not to build a new plane, but to build a bungee based launch system designed around these two planes, so that Colin could have a rest once in a while. (Quite right too Dwayne!) There are loads of videos on YouTube on building a bungee launcher, but almost all of these are for flying wings. It’s a lot easier to launch a plane if you don’t have a separate tail to get in the way!The best article I found was by Dave Royds from RCME and I used a lot of his ideas when planning my design. The launcher is constructed from 32mm PVC overflow pipe with push fit T’s and elbows to connect them together. The 1.5 metre ramp is inclined at 12 degrees with 20 feet of 6mm bungee and 10 feet of 3mm nylon cord providing the power. The foot trigger mechanism is a wooden seesaw which releases a split ring from a coach bolt. The bungee should be tensioned between three to five times the mass of the aircraft, so in my case 4.5 to 7kg pull. The whole system comes apart and is designed to be fitted into a sports bag.When the powers to be let us out to play again, I can test it out, and fine tune the system. The photos give a better idea of the arrangement. Thanks Keith, that looks excellent, I look forward to seeing it in action. Norwegian Nick made a similar looking one some time ago to launch some of his smaller EDFs. I don’t have any details of Nick’s but I remember that it was made from PVC pipe and it launched his little Sea Vixen with no problems.

Woody has added a Chance Vought Corsair and Hawker Hurricane to his collection that he calls Woody’s Warbirds! The Corsair is the HobbyKing PNF 30″ span one that comes fitted with 6 Axis ORX Flight Stabiliser. Woody has got it all set up with the stabiliser linked to his Multiplex radio gear and just needs the restrictions on flying lifted so he can test it. His Hurricane is the Dynam one and he’s added a sound system which is being demonstrated here:

Kryten snapped a couple of photos this month but not his usual flying shots, these are very firmly on the ground. I bet Dougal is dribbling into his breakfast now at the sight of a vintage Acoms 27MHz transmitter! However, all is not as it first seems as the transmitter and tools are scaled up to fit on a plinth that usually displays a real car. The second photo includes the Lanzante Tamiya Sand Scorcher, a real car that was scaled up from the Tamiya RC model.It’s very unusual to see something full-size that’s been modelled on an RC model, especially when it includes the transmitter. Here it is at Goodwood where, driven by a full-size driver, it took part in the hill-climb event. Amazing!

With no flying this month there is no video from the patch but John Warren sent me a link to one on YouTube that I think is worth sharing. It was filmed seven years ago and things have moved on a bit since then but it shows just the sort of flying skills that we all regularly demonstrate at the field…


Do you ever wake up, kiss the person sleeping next to you, and feel glad to be alive?
I just did.
Apparently I’ll never be allowed to fly with this airline again…

Colin Cowplain

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